In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Community Service.”

To the community I live in:

Dear Residents,

I know that living here is hard. There are not a lot of opportunities in this town. I understand that many of you live in a poverty-stricken hell. Minimum wage is the norm. I am not without sympathy for your struggles. I know that the opportunities to escape from here never come for most of you. We are devoid of culture, openness and often kindness here. It is a rare treat to find someone who is college educated, who has traveled, who has a different view of the world that we have all been stuck in here.

Often, I can see the weariness of my fellow townspeople. I can see where you are just one last nerve away from having a really bad day. You want to throw in the towel, you want to lash out, and you just want to give up.  I know this because I am living it.

This was not a place that I chose to come to. I moved here because it was the shortest move that I had made. You see, I married a man who was military. You move where they want you to. We may have requested to move here because it was the shortest move we had ever made and they promised us three years without a move.  My misery started long before I moved here. I struggled against all my demons that came with me to this place and now I struggle with the ones I have been put through since being here. The problem is that while I have paid for my choices and mistakes I have had to deal with your gossip, your hate, your lack of understanding, your judgments, your backstabbing, and ultimately,  your rules of morality.

I have lost everything moving here. I lost myself and what did you do? You kicked me when I was down and you laughed about it. You have followed me to places and attacked my spiritual beliefs, my sexual orientation, and my choices. You were there when the good times rolled but when the bottom fell out, where were you? Why did you bully my loved ones? Why did you go out of your way to cause as much pain as possible?

I am here to say that no matter what you have done to me , I am still alive and kicking. I will not be beaten down by your words, your hate, and your judgments. You don’t get to win. You may still want to beat me down but I will rise above it. I will not change the person I have become because it is uncomfortable for you. I am so much better than I was and I can’t wait to see what kind of person I will be. I will have my place in the world.

I can’t stop you from doing what you do and being what you are,  but I will not return the favor in kind.  You continue to do what you think you need to do to me to avoid looking at yourself in the mirror.  I will continue to be me.

A word of advice…Don’t turn from everything and everyone that doesn’t fit in your box. Maybe you will learn something new. Maybe you will escape from the hell you are stuck in. Maybe a little kindness will go a long way.

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